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It’s summer again and that means weekend outings, vacations and relaxing cruises in the car with the windows down. After the chilly days of winter, you want to make sure your car in is top shape for everything it needs to accomplish this season.
Even if you have a good handle on basic car care, you can benefit from learning about the specific maintenance your car should receive at the end of winter.
Gary Waters, Jr., a mechanic at Steven’s Auto in Boring, Oregon, gave us the tips and tricks you need to help your car shake off its winter blues and keep it running in good condition. Give your car a post-winter, warm-weather tune up with the following five steps.
According to Waters, the most failures occur when people fail to maintain an auto’s cooling system. When fluid levels are incorrect, or the wrong type of fluid is used, your car runs the risk of overheating. Hybrid cars in particular have new systems that won’t respond well to the type of fluid you may be comfortable using on older cars.
Waters calls antifreeze adjustment “the biggest switch from winter to summer,” and suggests having levels checked professionally if you don’t feel comfortable monitoring the levels at home. When professionals examine your car, they may also notice any additional problems present and can deal with them immediately.
Condition of parts and connections
There are countless small parts in your car working together to make it run smoothly. Improper connections can cause fluid leaks, as can worn rubber hoses or other small problems. While these may seem like minor issues, Waters recommends keeping an eye on them and addressing them as they occur, rather than waiting for a bigger problem. Leaking fluid can cause smoke, fire and a blown engine, rendering your car completely useless.
Clean the undercarriage
Winter roads are no fun to drive on, and your car agrees. You’ve likely driven through rain, snow and ice. You’ve also probably picked up sand from the roadways and a lot of cold weather gunk that is now stuck up under your car.
These materials can cause harmful wear and tear on your hoses and other car parts, leading to larger problems down the road. A thorough cleaning at the end of winter can prevent debris from wreaking long-term havoc on your undercarriage.
Check your transmission
Waters says, “The worst thing that can happen is not servicing your transmission properly.” Your transmission keeps you on the road safely. If the transmission breaks while driving, you may cause an accident that could seriously harm you or others on the road. Getting your transmission checked at the end of winter will ensure that your summer is full of safe driving.
Check your tires
Tire pressure tends to decrease during the winter, and we compensate by adding more air. When the weather begins to warm, everything expands, increasing the pressure to an unsafe level. When pressure is too high, blowouts can occur. Not only can this lead to accidents, it can cause costly tire replacements. Make sure your tire pressure is at a safe level throughout the year, and that your tires are properly aligned and balanced to improve tire performance and gas mileage.
These handy car tips will keep you driving safe and enjoying your summer on the road.